Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Is Your Opposite-Sex Friendship a Threat to Your Marriage?

Opposite-Sex FriendshipsMarriage isn’t easy. If you’re married, that is not news to you. While being committed and bonded to someone can be the most satisfying human relationship, sometimes it takes grit and determination to get past the challenges brought on by stressors like money, sex, conflict, parenting, illness, exhaustion and even an opposite-sex friendship.

Sometimes the challenges are beyond your control or happen in spite of your best effort to maintain your marital satisfaction. But at other times, they are avoidable. One issue that troubles a lot of marriages is one partner having a close friend of the opposite sex. While many such friendships are positive, I have created a list of 20 questions you should ask yourself to make sure you haven’t crossed a line.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Can You Guess What The Foundation of a Happy Marriage Is?

Happy MarriageWith Valentine’s Day upon us, our minds turn to love and romantic relationships. What do you think is the foundation of a happy marriage? Many people would guess that it is good communication, the ability to resolve conflicts, mutual respect, or martial commitment. Although these things are very important recent research shows that the best predictor of marital happiness is friendship.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Men and Women Have Different Social Needs

Social NeedsBack in the “olden days” when my children were still living at home and our main source of communication was a house phone that we all had to share, most of the calls received in our home were either for my daughters or my wife. If it hadn’t been for solicitors calling during the dinner hour, I would rarely talk to anyone on the telephone. One of the reasons they received more calls was because they highly value conversation and close friendships and go out of their way to cultivate them. It’s not that I (or other men) don’t value relationships, but we don’t tend to need as many relationships or as much contact in order to feel emotionally and relationally satisfied. In general, women rely upon and desire close friendships to a greater degree than men.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

10 Keys to Healthy Relationships

Healthy RelationshipsAs a psychologist, I work with people every day who want to improve their relationships with friends, co-workers and family members. Here are ten things I recommend to everyone desiring healthy, more satisfying relationships:

1. LOVE WHO YOU ARE FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Remember Stuart Smalley of SNL fame? Stuart was famous for his sappy daily affirmation, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” You may not want to fall into that shallow facade of self-worth, but the truth is that many of the things people do to sabotage or undermine their relationships are fueled by low self-esteem and insecurity.

When you can honestly identify and genuinely appreciate your gifts, talents and abilities as well as acknowledge and work on your weaknesses you will be less inclined to compensate for your insecurities by finding fault in others, being self-absorbed and/or overly guarded and defensive. When you love and accept yourself it’s a lot easier to love, like, accept and relate well with others – flaws and all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Don’t Miss the Opportunity

OpportunityDo you have plans to spend some time with the people you care about the most? If not, stop what you are doing right now and think about something special you can do with your kids, spouse, significant other or friend that you will really enjoy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How to Sabotage Your Relationships

Send mixed signals – What a great way to get off to a bad start in a relationship! If you want people to be confused and angry, be sure to keep them guessing about what you are thinking or what you really mean.  It can also drive people crazy if you’re unwilling to express your honest opinion, or if you make them wonder if you’re telling the truth.  Mixed signals will keep others off guard and frustrated.

Sabotage your relationships

Assume the worst – Convince yourself that the friend who let you down did it on purpose; don’t even consider the possibility that it was an honest mistake or simple misunderstanding.  If something doesn’t go your way, you can effectively sabotage your relationship if you begin by assuming that it’s never going to be okay, and then respond accordingly. Rehearse the belief that you have to look out for Number One because others are out to get you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Are You Poisoning Your Relationships?

The GossipUnfortunately, I have some experience with poison – specifically rat poison.  I hate to admit it, but I once accidently poisoned our wonderful family pet beagle, Whiskey.  The poison was intended for the vexatious mice that were chewing through the storage boxes in our shed, but being the novice exterminator that I was, I placed the poison where our dog could find and eat it.  Despite our veterinarian’s best efforts to reverse the ill effects of the poison, our family friend didn’t survive.

Thankfully, you will likely never poison your family pet, but did you know it’s possible to poison yourself and your relationships without even being aware of it?  Nearly every day I talk to men and women who are either engaged in or hurt by behaviors that are a form of relational poisoning.  Today, I want to address the relational poison of gossip.

You would be hard pressed to spend a day in any office building and not be exposed to some form of gossip.  Gossip involves the spreading of rumors or information about others.  Although there can be sociological benefits associated with some forms of gossip, today I want to address the epidemic problems associated specifically with malicious gossip.

Think of the number of famous people you have heard about in the news who report having had their reputations and lives seriously injured by malicious gossip.  The numbers are staggering and the damage done often irreparable.

Although the person sharing malicious gossip may attract people who take delight in hearing about the misfortune or bad choices of others (whether true or not) they are often oblivious to the fact that their credibility, trustworthiness and character are being seriously undermined.

As a gossip, you will never experience the depth of intimacy with others that you really desire

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Wisdom of a Champion – Coach John Wooden

Last Friday we lost one of the most successful and beloved coaches of all time.  John Wooden, UCLA’s legendary basketball coach, died at the age of 99 – just four months short of his 100th birthday.

In his 40 years of coaching high school and college basketball, Coach Wooden had 885 wins and only 203 losses.  His UCLA Bruins still hold the NCAA record for winning 88 straight games from 1971 to 1974.  He also led the Bruins to an unprecedented 10 National Championships.

John Wooden will not only be remembered for his success on the basketball court, but for his success in life.  Several years ago I read John Wooden’s autobiography and was greatly impressed by his insights on leadership and success. This week I will share some of Coach Wooden’s legendary teachings on living, working and relating well.

John Wooden is probably best known for the principles he taught his teams over the years known as the “Pyramid of Success”.  Wooden wrote in his book, “After much reflection, trial and error, and some soul searching, I choose 15 fundamental values as blocks for my Pyramid of Success.  I believe they are prerequisites for a leader and an organization whose goal is to perform at the highest level of which they are capable.”  Here is the first tier, the foundation, of Mr. Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success”.

Whether you are leading your family, a sports team or a team of professionals at work, these fundamentals of success can help you achieve the highest levels of performance.

First Tier of the “Pyramid of Success”

INDUSTRIOUSNESS – There is “no substitute for old-fashioned work” according to Wooden.  “Without it crops aren’t planted, corn won’t grow, hay isn’t harvested. You perish.”

ENTHUSIASM – “You must be enthusiastic if you are to stimulate others.